By Cate McCurry, PA
The number of overseas passengers arriving in Ireland jumped by more than 1,300 per cent last month compared with February last year, new figures show.
In February, 787,300 passengers arrived in Ireland via overseas routes, up 35 per cent on January 2022.
Overseas travel was considerably lower in February 2021, when 54,800 passengers arrived, and 53,200 passengers left.
The figures were published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) for its air and sea travel statistics for February.
— Central Statistics Office Ireland (@CSOIreland) March 28, 2022
The figures also show that in February 2022, 785,200 passengers left Ireland on overseas routes, up 40 per cent on January 2022.
However, overseas travel in February remains considerably lower than pre-pandemic February 2020, when 1,215,100 passengers arrived and 1,203,300 passengers left.
Gregg Patrick, from the Central Statistics Office, said: “The air and sea travel statistics for February 2022 show an increase in overseas travel compared with the preceding month.
“In February 2022, 787,300 overseas passengers arrived in Ireland, compared to 584,100 in January 2022, an increase of 35 per cent.
“In February 2022, 785,200 overseas passengers departed from Ireland, compared to 562,300 in January 2022, an increase of 40 per cent.
“The February 2022 statistics show that continental routes contributed most to the passenger traffic.
“Some 407,700 passengers arrived on continental routes and 404,600 passengers departed on continental routes.
“By way of contrast, 318,600 passengers arrived on cross-channel routes and 319,500 passengers departed on cross-channel routes.
“Just 38,100 passengers arrived on transatlantic routes and 38,800 passengers departed on these routes.”
Apart from Britain, which accounted for all cross-channel routes, the most important routing countries for overseas travel in February were Spain, with 94,100 arrivals and 97,100 departures, France, with 52,300 arrivals and 50,600 departures, and Germany, with 40,900 arrivals and 38,000 departures.
It comes as Dublin Airport advised passengers to expect lengthy queues in the coming days and week due to staffing issues.
Dublin Airport said it was still trying to bounce back from the impact of the pandemic, as some passengers used social media to complain about long queues and lengthy waiting times at security.
A spokesman for Dublin Airport said staff were trying to “ramp up” the service, but returning to full capacity after Covid-19 would take time.
Airlines and the travel industry were badly hit by the pandemic, which brought international travel largely to a halt when it first struck.
While the tourism industry has rebounded somewhat, visitor numbers in Ireland remain below pre-pandemic levels.
The airport spokesman said that more than 100 new security staff were recruited since the start of the year.